Pricing is one of the most complex parts of running my own business. What am I worth?
Why do I have to “sell” all the time? If I’m good, why can’t people just find me?
When I was working with my business coach a couple of years ago, she suggested I make some calls to college career centers to see if they might be interested in some of my professional development services. I dreaded the calls. I set a goal to do five calls every Wednesday and would find a way to avoid them every week.
When I met with Mandy again I told her I hated selling and dreaded the calls. Our conversation went like this:
Mandy, “Do you offer a quality service?”
Mandy, “Do others benefit from these services?”
Mandy, “Then you are not ‘selling’. You are sharing your skills with others to help them.”
She was always good at getting me to think about my business differently. I still had a bit of imposter syndrome going on and worried about my credibility. Can I charge as much as I do? Am I worth it?
I stumbled on this TedTalk by Casey Brown who is a pricing consultant. She suggests if you focus on serving others in your work and adding value, it won’t feel like bragging, ie selling.
Her questions help me get my head around my worth.
- What are my unique skill sets that help my clients?
- What are my clients’ needs & how do I help them?
- What do I do that no one else does?
- What problems do I solve for clients?
- What value do I add to their lives?
If I am honest in answering these questions about adding value to their lives, then I need to work on communicating that value and not being afraid to set my price for the value I bring to them.
The other game-changer for me was reading The Earned Life by Marshall Goldsmith and his “credibility matrix” idea. He states you build credibility twice. Once over time as you hone your skills. Next, it has to be noticed by people. You don’t need to brag about yourself, but people need to see you to build your credibility. If you have something to offer people, it’s ok to let others know. Not everyone will “buy” but what you hope is more people will “see.”
Secondly, you make a difference in the world through empathy. Make sure you put those you serve utmost in your mind. Build your relationships with others by empathizing with them: What are their problems? What are their pain points? What are their needs?
Look at Goldsmith’s Credibility Matrix pictured here.
Where do you find yourself on the “Making a Positive Difference” line?
Personally, I feel like I am on the right side, making a lot of difference.
Then think about where you are on the “Proving Yourself” line. If you are doing good work and other people see that you are doing good work, you are Earning Credibility (upper right corner).
If others do not see your work then you are Underselling Yourself (lower right corner). If others don’t know what you are doing, how can they support you?
So what are things you can do to get into the upper right corner and “earn some credibility?”
- Present at conferences
- Write articles for journals or your professional association
- Comment thoughtfully on LinkedIn posts
- Network wherever and whenever you can
What other ways might you earn some credibility?
Regardless of what you decide to do, if you are providing a quality service, be proud of it and price yourself accordingly. If you price yourself too low you diminish your work and our profession. If you want to work with underserved people, I recommend you determine your value and then you can offer discounts, but your value should be set in your head first. Then proudly state your value and don’t be ashamed…you are worth it if you do good work.